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Williamsport anticipates non-traditional approach to graduation

With about 340 graduating seniors this year, the Williamsport Area School District is trying to plan some type of graduation ceremony on the date which had been set in June, but probably not in the form of a traditional ceremony, according to Dr. Timothy S. Bowers, district superintendent.

“It looks like they’re going to try to do something with an in-person graduation and cars,” Bowers told the district’s board at their meeting held via Zoom Tuesday.

“Basically (we’d) have kids stay in their cars and come up through our stadium and receive their diplomas,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll still be able to have some staff there and give them that send-off that the

district’s done for so many years,” he added.

With certain areas in the state going to the yellow phase of mitigation, Bowers noted that there would still be restrictions on the number of people who can gather in one spot.

“Even though we’re in the yellow, we’re still not supposed to gather in groups of more than 25. So, students would have to remain in their cars and we would have to be very careful,” he said.

He stressed that there would be social distancing and wearing masks and any other restrictions that are in line with the protective measures set by the government.

“But, in all that, Brandon (Pardoe, high school principal) is still confident that we could still have a pretty neat opportunity for them to still be recognized and celebrated,” Bowers said.

Bowers told the board that Pardoe had sent a survey to the seniors asking their availability in August for a more expanded ceremony and a prom. Pardoe had reported that about 100 students had responded to the survey.

“If things ease up in August and it turns out to be okay and we can bring them back for a more traditional kind of ceremony, then we certainly would like to do that as well,” Bowers stated.

He did note that there are a few “pieces of the puzzle” that need to be worked out. He explained that the local department of health should probably be contacted in order to run any plans by them and the local police department would have to be consulted about traffic control.

“There’s still a lot of pieces that have to be put in place, but it’s still come a lot further than it did the last time we spoke,” he said.

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